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Hello,

I am starting to think about upgrading the vise that I'm currently using. I'm currently using a super cheap Cabela's one that I bought with the intentions of seeing if fly tying was something that I would enjoy. Now that I have figured out that this is something that I enjoy doing, I figure then why not get a better vise that will last longer than the crappy Cabela's one. I don't really want to spend more than $200, but I am also flexible if worth the price difference.
 

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I have several vises. A Barracuda, a Stonfo Transformer, a Traveler, an old Regal, and a Thompson 2a. They all do the job.

I think my favorite all around vise is the Transformer with the Barracuda a close second.

For the money the Traveler is hard to beat but I'd also look at the Peak and maybe the Atlas Anvil.
 

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I have several vises. A Barracuda, a Stonfo Transformer, a Traveler, an old Regal, and a Thompson 2a. They all do the job.

I think my favorite all around vise is the Transformer with the Barracuda a close second.

For the money the Traveler is hard to beat but I'd also look at the Peak and maybe the Atlas Anvil.
What...no Vise Grips for commando tyin' on the beaches??
Well...ya threw out just about every name in the book. :p:D
 

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I second the Dyna King Barracuda. Although mine's not the Jr. It's the nice vice.
I owned both a full size Barracuda and the Jr. Because the Jr. is a tad smaller, it fit better on my desk so I found myself using it more than the larger model. I ended up selling the full size Barracuda.

I also own a number of vises but really only use the two.
 

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I also have a collection of vises. Some less expensive vises I learned (and struggled) on, along with a Regal and Renzetti Traveler. I take the Traveler with me when on the road like others have mentioned, but my home vise is a Norvise. It takes a bit getting use to, but is a great rotary vise! Not sure it fits within you budget. It is really great for tying buggers, streamers and larger flies and still handles small flies.

Dr Bob
 
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go to your local fly shop or even cabelas and check out tjeir demo vises. pick the one that best suits your needs and tying style

i have tied on a renzetti traveler since 1988. seems to work well for me
 

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I like my traveler, but I still use my thompson knockoff for tubes since the traveler won't hold the tube needle securely. If your only concern is that the Cabelas vise might wear out, and you otherwise like it, go ahead and wear it out.
 

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Late to the discussion here...

Any vise you get in your stated price range will be a good quality vise. Every $150-250 vise that comes to my mind should function well for many years and is backed with a good warranty by an established manufacturer.

"True rotary" tying vises have become increasingly popular over the last 10-20 yrs even though few tyers state they employ rotary tying techniques. At your budget, the Renz Traveler and Peak Rotary are the commonly recommended true rotary choices. The Traveler is relatively small and light among its type but is certainly capable for all but the largest flies. Some tyers of bigger flies state the Peak feels more robust and better suited for their needs. Renzetti offers a variety of high quality vises above the Traveler, but they will push your budget to $300 and beyond.

FYI, you don't need a true rotary vise to tie the best fly. Period. In general, someone that tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something or is attempting to rationalize their own choice. Most of the comments I've read in support of true rotary vises state their usefulness for winding ribs and for inspecting the opposite side of the fly. Having learned to tie on a standard vise (I own/use both rotary and standard, btw), ribbing hand-over-hand still gives me the best result. And any decent quality standard vise will permit the tyer to turn the jaws to verify that a set of upright wings are set on center. Granted, if you do a fair amount of tying with UV resins where you build coated bodies (e.g., surf candies) or heads, a true rotary vise is certainly handy, just as it is for shaping clipped hair bodies. Handy but not indispensable.

Among quality standard (conventional) vises available today that fit your budget are HMH Spartan and Regal Medallion. My HMH Standard was my first quality vise, and I bought my first Regal about five years ago. Both are great tools. Regal has the edge for simplicity in clamping while giving up nothing in holding strength, and the no-glare jaws are easy on tired eyes. Rotating my HMH is easier and more intuitive, though, with just a finger on the rear cam lever, and sometimes I prefer the HMH for its compactness and unobtrusive design. Additional or replacement HMH jaws are among the most affordable around if the need arises. Built with quality materials, my HMH has seen a bit of use (sometimes heavy use) over 30 years and still looks and functions basically as new after a simple cleaning. Either vise can be set parallel to the desk for applications where you want to keep the hook shank level (e.g., UV resin application above). Both feature nearly unlimited access to the rear of the hook when you increase the jaw angle. And both offer your non-bobbin hand a comfortable platform for support. I'd say that jaw angle adjustment, hook access and comfort are issues that sometimes really do favor a standard vise.

There are other standard vises in the same budget. Dyna King offers the Kingfisher and the Squire. Neither offer jaw angle adjustment, though, which could be a deal breaker. A good deal more money will get that feature in the Professional or Supreme. I got one of the latter before rotary became the rage, but I soon realized that I liked the HMH more. I found the DK hook adjustment more tedious, and I never particularly liked the pocketed jaws or the rotary adjustment screw. Another is the Anvil Apex (or Wolff Apex now), which is the standard brother to the true rotary Atlas model (not mentioned above). On the upside, the Apex comes with a pedestal and c-clamp for $110, and it's US made. The jaw angle is adjustable, but the design (short collet, curved upright rod, and long cam lever) means your hanging bobbin will be knocking against the upright rod if you raise the angle more than a few degrees. And Apex/Atlas jaws might be the softest of any mentioned, since I've lost count of how many pics I've seen of their mushed up jaws. Maybe I'm just seeing the effects of some abuse, but I've never experienced this. Even my old Thompson jaws weren't treated gently by any means and showed no deformation at all after five years of regular use and the following decade smashing barbs.

You've got some choices. Much more than years ago.
 

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You've got some choices. Much more than years ago.
No kidding. You had the choice between a Thompson base model or the deluxe. Then I think they started selling one with a base.

I primarily use the true rotary aspect of my vises for looking at all sides of the fly or in the case of some of my bass patterns, at one point I use the vise to turn them upside down to tie in material on the belly... or the back depending on the style of hook. I also coat the body of some bass patterns with a clear agent to make the bug more durable and the rotary function comes in handy for that purpose. I don't really use the 360 function for ribbing or dubbing... but I could :cool:
 

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The primary function of any vice is to securely hold a hook.

I came to HATE cam lock vices. For nearly 30 years I used a Thompson A vice with its cam lock and learned what a pain in the ass a cam lock is getting it adjusted just so to securely hold a hook.

I ran across a Griffin vice that uses two knurled knobbed screws to first grab the hook with the smaller screw and then lock it in with the second knurled knobbed screw. Now this is a very simplistic vice and is definitely not impressive to look at but the function is superb! I have tied on hooks ranging from a size 1 to as small as a 16 and could go larger or smaller if so desired. The cost a stunning $60 or so. A very functional vice and worth consideration. If you need a spectacular vice for ego enhancement this is not the vice you want. If you want a vice that holds a hook this is a good choice.
Especially starting out I would seriously consider this vice. If later you decide that you are really into fly tying and feel the need to spend more dollars on a vice at least you will know that tying is not a passing fancy. And after tying a thousand or so flies you will have a better idea of what you are looking for in a vice. For myself this vice does everything I want, holds the hook securely and easy to fix the hook in the jaws. Of course I only have nearly 50 years practice at tying flies so what do I know?


Dave
 
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